Sylvee & The Sea, Pieta Brown, John Convertino - The Less I Needed the Better I Felt
Have you ever driven a car while blindfolded? I hope not! But it probably feels like something akin to playing on this record. For these sessions, Sylvee had one rule: no charts, no fear, no thinking, no remorse…those are actually four rules but I’m not gonna argue with Sylvee and neither should you.
When the tape told its tale, I couldn’t believe that we hadn’t all been playing in the same room, looking each other in the eyes and peeking at Sylvee’s hands to see where she was headed to next. The final mixes bore proof to the notion that cool things can happen when you use the force and let go….or maybe they just confirm Art Tatum’s pronouncement that “there is no such thing as a wrong note”. You decide which…no, wait…don’t bother…Sylvee’s already decided and the answer is…..
~ Don Was, September 4, 2022
SYLVEE & THE SEA’s first release The Less I Needed The Better I Felt is a vivid collection of experimental instrumentals by Indie-Americana songstress Pieta Brown in collaboration with John Convertino (Calexico), CARM (CARM, Bon Iver, Y Music) and Don Was (producer, musician, president of Blue Note Records) out now on Righteous Babe Records.
Started spontaneously from a distance during the isolation of pandemic times through a rapid-fire ping-pong session between Pieta Brown and John Convertino, the free-form-in-the-moment melody and tone explorations quickly became coherent instrumentals through the exchange. With upright piano, electric guitars, drums, and vibes at the sonic center, the energy of the collaboration expanded further when Pieta sent a handful of the tracks to CARM (horns) and Don Was (bass) who responded openly from their outposts as well. The result is a highly emotive and playful piece reflecting both the fragmentation and openness of the times. Traces of influences as varied as Kim Gordon, Keith Jarret, Erik Satie, Alice Coltrane, and Mulatu Astatke weave together to make The Less I Needed The Better I Felt a mesmerizing originative quest that can be listened to on repeat.
Lauded for her songwriting, singing and inimitable sound and style, Pieta Brown’s music has been used in various movies (including Every Thing Will Be Fine : Wim Wenders) and TV shows (including Jane The Virgin). Recently commissioned by the progressive and internationally recognized Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN to curate and score 60 minutes of experimental films from the Walker archives and beyond, Brown chose to highlight avant-garde films by women and performed her experimental score live with her band to great reception in August 2022. Brown's new collaborative project SYLVEE & THE SEA is her first fully instrumental release.